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Burke native among SD Hall of Fame inductees

Thomas Lillibridge

CHAMBERLAIN -- Longtime Burke-area banker Thomas Lillibridge will be among 10 state leaders welcomed into the South Dakota Hall of Fame this weekend.

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The festivities begin today and continue through Saturday at locations in Chamberlain and Oacoma.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard will attend the ceremonies, which will honor nominees as ambassadors who represent a culture of excellence for South Dakota in areas of professionalism, arts and entertainment, history, sports and general categories.

Established in 1974, the Hall of Fame has honored more than 600 South Dakotans.

Lillibridge is the third member of his family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He and wife Cindy Thoene, a retired school psychologist, make their home in Bonesteel.

He is co-chairman, with his brother, John, of his family's First Fidelity Bank in Burke, which has branches in Bonesteel, Colome, Gregory, Murdo, Platte and Winner.

John Lillibridge was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 and their father, Lowell Louis Lillibridge, who died in 1986, was inducted posthumously in 2002.

"I think being inducted is very much an honor, especially since my dad and brother were also inducted," Lillibridge said.

Born in Burke, Lillibridge attended school locally and later attended Sioux Falls College, where he graduated in 1967 with a business degree.

He is proud of his family's record of financial service to area communities. Except for six months in 1926, the family bank has operated under the same charter that launched it in 1905.

His grandfather, Lowell S. Lillibridge, was a model for banking integrity, Tom Lillibridge said.

"When the bank failed he put up everything he owned to raise the capital he needed to reopen it."

The elder Lillibridge was bothered that some depositors had lost money, and during the remainder of his career he made a point of paying back every depositor he could find.

An avid golfer and outdoorsman, Tom Lillibridge serves on the board of the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation, which helps to fund additional projects that promote nature-related opportunities for young people throughout the state.

He and wife Cindy have also established the Tom and Cindy Lillibridge Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Sioux Falls.

Lillibridge, who says he is no musician himself, is most proud of his work as chairman of the National Music Museum Board at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion.

"The Music Museum has the finest collection of musical instruments in the world -- bar none," he said.

The collection includes 15,000 instruments, but has room to display a mere 2,500 to 3,000. The board has raised about $5 million of the $15 million needed to build a new museum capable of handling the collection.

Lillibridge is a past president of the South Dakota Heritage Fund Board and a former board member of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Preserve South Dakota and the Great Lakes of South Dakota Association.

He and his brother were honored as South Dakota Philanthropists of the Year in 2011.

Lillibridge said he plans to celebrate with family and friends who will be in town for the induction ceremony.

He plans to keep working in the family business.

"I'll take some time out for farming and hunting, but since my brother and I are chairmen of the board, there's no one pressing me to retire," he said.

Following are descriptions of other inductees, based on biographies provided by the Hall of Fame.

Bill Janklow

Elected attorney general in 1974, the late Bill Janklow went on to serve four terms as South Dakota's governor, from 1978 to 1998. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002. He is credited with making state government smaller, more innovative and more efficient, and he exercised a frontline approach to the management of the state's response to natural disasters.

Ruth Brennan

Brennan, of Rapid City, is a former journalist and a longtime supporter, promoter and former executive director of the Rapid City Arts Council. She spent five years as chairwoman of the South Dakota Arts Council, where she served as a governor-appointed member for 23 years. In 2010, she received the Governor's Award in the Arts for her community service.

Miles Beacom

Miles K. Beacom has served as president and chief executive officer of Premier Bankcard since 1993. Under his leadership, Premier Bankcard grew from serving 40,000 cardholders to a peak of more than 3.7 million customers nationwide, employing more than 2,000 employees at four locations across South Dakota. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Premier Bankcard, First Premier Bank and United National Corp.

Dennis Knutson

Dr. Dennis Knutson is being honored for a distinguished career in dermatology and dermatopathology. He arrived in South Dakota in 1975 to teach dermatology at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. As an educator and chairman of the Dermatology Division, he became a voice for health information throughout the state on television and radio. Knutson is also well known for his performances as a soloist and principal flutist for several ensembles in the Sioux Falls area. He and his wife Mary Ann have supported a number of scholarships and endowments in both medicine and the arts.

Bernie Christenson

Former Divison of Criminal Investigation director Bernard Christenson was born and raised on a farm near Britton. His career covered the major law enforcement hot spots, including the American Indian Movement confrontations in the early 1970s. He was DCI director for 20 years. He was later elected to the Pierre City Commission and to two terms in the state House of Representatives. At the request of Governor George S. Mickelson, he resigned his office in November 1987 to become the founding executive director of the South Dakota Community Foundation.

Jerry Shoener

Journalist Jerry Shoener worked more than 50 years at the Rapid City Journal and served four terms in the state Senate, 12 years on the Rapid City Common Council and also served on the South Dakota Transportation Commission. Born in Ziebach County, Shoener left high school at 17 and enlisted in the Navy, and served in the Pacific during World War II. His volunteer work includes 27 years on the board and as past president of the Black Hills Workshop Foundation, as well as work with many other charitable and civic organizations.

Pat Lebrun

Pat Lebrun is president of Lebrun Investment Management Inc., a post she has held since 1988. She was appointed to the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority in 2004, where she currently serves as secretary-treasurer. She was a member of the South Dakota Board of Regents from 1987 to 2005, where she served in every leadership role and twice as president.

Charles Trimble

Charles Trimble is the founder and executive director of the American Indian Press Association and in 1972 was elected executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. A member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, Trimble was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, educated at Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge, and received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of South Dakota.

Shirley Halleen

Born in Iowa in 1935 and raised in Wyoming, Shirley Halleen became a South Dakotan at the age of 38 when her family moved to Sioux Falls. As a teacher, her life has been dedicated to leadership and public service in education, government and religion. She served two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives and made history in 1990 as the first woman to be a candidate for South Dakota's lieutenant governor. She was manager of the historic 1989 Centennial Wagon Train. A community activist, she has helped found several educational and human service organizations and has served on more than 20 nonprofit boards in the Sioux Falls area as well as national educational and religious boards.